Skip to main content

Author: Joe Public

Clemson comes to town to serve!

When Michael Jakab phoned us to say he was bringing an ROTC class here for spring break and wanted to incorporate some community service, we said YES, YES, YES! We love that this group of future leaders were able to enjoy the Emerald Coast and do a little TLC at our Fisher House. What’s your super power?

Rice receives President’s Volunteer Service Award

Local restaurant owner and community leader Tom Rice has been recognized with one of the nation’s highest volunteer awards.  David Goetsch, vice president emeritus of Northwest Florida State College, surprised Rice during last Monday’s Memorial Day ceremony with the announcement that he had received the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award.

Created in 2003, the President’s Volunteer Service Award recognizes people whose service positively impacts their communities and inspires those around them to take action. The award has several levels of recognition, depending on the number of volunteer hours served. The Lifetime Achievement Award that Rice received requires documentation of more than 4,000 hours.

David Goetsch (right) presents Army veteran and longtime community leader Tom Rice with the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award during the Memorial Day Ceremony at Beal Memorial Cemetery in Fort Walton Beach.

“This is the highest level, and not that many people reach that level,” Goetsch said. “But for Tom it was easy; he’s probably done 40,000 hours.”

It was a fitting venue to honor Rice, a retired Army first sergeant who has served as master of ceremonies for the city’s Memorial Day services for about a decade. With 27 years of active and reserve duty, veterans issues are near and dear to his heart.  Rice was a founding board member of the Fisher House of the Emerald Coast, a 12-suite residential facility opened in 2010 near Eglin Hospital where military service members can stay with their families while awaiting, receiving or recovering from medical care.

He also served on the board of directors and helped raise money for the Emerald Coast Honor Flight, a program that flew local World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit the nation’s World War II memorials.

Rice also is president of the Veterans Tribute Tower Committee, which led the community-wide effort to raise $300,000 for the 30-foot clock and bell tower that stands at the front of Beal Memorial Cemetery.  Rice also serves as chair of the Salvation Army Advisory Board, helping the organization with it Christmas Red Kettle campaign and the Empty Stocking Fund, and is secretary of Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida.

“Each of those groups is doing a lot of good in the community,” he said. “Things that would be difficult for me to do personally, but there are things that I can help them do.”

National Selfie Day 2022

It’s National Selfie Day and Robert our House Manager is at our lovely Fisher House on Eglin this morning welcoming military and veteran families coming to stay with us for hope and healing during a medical event. #loveisgoodmedicine today and every day!

One big community of support

We have one big community of giving, organizations and people working TOGETHER to bless others. VITAS Healthcare is a sponsor of our Fisher House at Eglin, Brieanne rom Vitas is a VOLUNTEER for Fisher House and I am a VOLUNTEER for Vitas making memory bears for Marla. See how we are all connected? Today our friends at Bluewater Fitness (Nora supports Fisher House – yay) and Vitas are hosting an event to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s and caregivers. I will spin a little today for my friends, for my mom who passed away from Alzheimer’s and for my new friend Liz, whom I met last week who is the sole caregiver of a 90 year old veteran with Alzheimers. See how we are all connected?


All American Thursdays recognizes Nathaniel Johns

All American Thursdays happen every week with a Vintage Flyover, hero salute, live entertainment, free beer/seltzer tastings and fireworks ending the night at 9pm. Meet our hero for June 9, Staff Sergeant Nathaniel Johns.

Staff Sergeant Nathaniel S. Johns is the NCOIC of Supply for the 96th Security Forces Squadron, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. He is tasked to maintain accountability of all Security Forces equipment with a total cost of $1 million. He is responsible for issuing gear, and controls the Government Processing Card for the unit to sustain the Units supplies to maintain readiness for all members.

We work closely with the 96th SFS who volunteer for events in the community and also keep our installation and PEOPLE safe at the gate!  We appreciate the 1 percent of our population who voluntarily serve our nation in the armed services.

Military Organizations give big!

We were with the VFW in Milton on Saturday when they made a $500 donation to our Fisher House at Eglin.  The Military Order of the Cooties PT 59 are faithful supporters of our house at Eglin and give faithfully.  They are veterans, helping veterans and their families.  #winning

Judyann Schneider gets a promotion to Guest Services

Congratulations Judyann Schneider!  Judyann now she serves as the Guest Services Representative. She has been with our Fisher House since 2016. Her favorite part of working at the Fisher House is meeting all the selfless people that serve our country.

Judyann is happily married to her husband Tom, and has five adult children that have blessed her with 7 grandchildren She loves caring for her pets, which include three dogs, three cats, and one bunny

It takes a village of support and caregivers internally and a kind, thoughtful generous team of volunteers, donors and medical personnel externally to complete this mission.  We are grateful for the hands and hearts who work, serve and make a difference in the lives of our military families.  Unsung heroes….

Chere’ York is great new addition to Eglin Fisher House

Chere’ York is new to the Eglin Fisher House. She is responsible for ensuring guest rooms are ready for their stay, and the common areas of the house. Chere’ but looks forward to a long and happy future here. She fits right in with the team to create a great work family, doing what they all enjoy!  She has been married for 5 years to her husband Trevor York. They share two girls together, Coralyn age 8 and Hayden age 2. They live with 3 additional 4 legged companions.

Chere’ and Trevor stay busy with the dogs, the kids, running a small family owned business called All Out Woodworks and working for the Air Force. In their spare time, Chere’ and her husband love playing darts and taking trips local mud parks to occasionally to ride their ATV’s.

We love the team at our Fisher House who welcome our guests and take care of them every single day.

Eglin Fisher House welcomes new manager, Robert Campbell

Robert Campbell recently became the Fisher House Manager. Robert is retired after serving in the US Air Force for 23 years as a Services Specialist. Along with 30 plus years of hospitality experience that he brings to the Fisher House, he is very passionate about making customers feel at home. His loves being able to interact with the guests and lend a listening ear.

Robert is married to love of his life, Marilia, who he met while stationed at Lajes Air Base, Portugal. They have 2 daughters and are blessed with 3 grandsons of which is a pair of twins. Their three grandsons keep both of them very busy. He enjoys watching college football, especially his beloved Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Welcome Robert!

Rob Connell joins Fisher House Board

Recently retired U.S. Army Special Forces Officer with 28 years of service in a wide variety of command and staff positions from platoon through Combatant Command level. Worked throughout Latin America, Europe, Middle East, Central Asia and the Pacific Rim. Education background includes Undergrad and Post-Graduate degrees. Rob is currently a Senior Program Analyst with the Technology Integration Support Center – a MAG Aerospace company that directly supports Air Force Special Operations Command and the SOF community at large. P.S. Rob was at the table when Arnold Fisher made the decision to bring the Intrepid Spirit Center to Eglin and was instrumental in highlighting the immediate need for our war fighters in the treatment of brain injuries, and invisible wounds.  We love having former members of the Red Empire, 7th SFG overseeing the care of our wonderful mission, serving military and veteran families during their time of medical need.